A day after it began discussing the contentious issue of Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in multi-brand retail, the Lok Sabha will continue debating the issue followed by a vote today. The UPA government, which has managed to convince all its partners, including the DMK, to stand by it in today's vote in Lok Sabha, has been kept guessing by the SP and BSP, which provide external support to it, on which way they will vote.
If the BSP and SP both abstain in the 545-seat Lok Sabha, the majority mark will come down from 273 to 251. The Congress and its UPA allies have 261 MPs. Anti-FDI MPs add up to 219.
The Rajya Sabha will begin debating the issue on Thursday and will vote on Friday. In the Rajya Sabha, the government is in a distinct minority and will need more active support from the SP and the BSP. The Upper House has a strength of 244. Along with its allies, the UPA has a strength of 94 members. The 10 nominated members may go ahead to vote with the government. Among the seven Independents, three or four may support the government. Still, the ruling coalition may have to persuade outside supporters BSP (15) and SP (nine) to vote with the government. The government is said to be talking to smaller groups too in the Rajya Sabha to make up numbers.